Between 1981 and 1984 Phillips, a wide receiver, caught 75 passes for 935 yards and 9 touchdowns in his Wildcat career. He went on to play for the Washington Redskins for two seasons before returning to the college game in 1988 as a graduate assistant at Kentucky under Jerry Claiborne.
Phillips immediately showed the drive and the charisma required to be a quality recruiter as a coach. In 1990 he was promoted from Graduate Assistant to Assistant Recruiting Coordinator for Bill Curry's staff in Lexington. A year later he added Wide Receiver Coach to his resume and he coached that position until Curry's departure in 1996.
In 1997 Phillips joined Rick Minter's staff at Cincinnati for the next two seasons, coaching wide receivers (1997) and defensive backs (1998). In 1999 Phillips was hired by Minnesota's Glen Mason to coach wide receivers for the Golden Gophers. Phillips coached at Minnesota until he received a big break in 2001.
Phillips was hired by Bob Davie, then coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Phillips coached wide receivers in South Bend for one season before Notre Dame let Davie go as head coach. Phillips followed up his time with the Irish by coaching beside a former coach for the Irish, Lou Holtz at South Carolina in 2002.
In 2003 when Kentucky was in search of new head coach, Mitch Barnhart chose Rich Brooks to come in guide the program through probation. Brooks decided to bring Phillips in as Recruiting Coordinator and as Wide Receiver Coach.
Phillips became Offensive Coordinator at Kentucky in 2005 when Ron Hudson was released from the position and called plays for two of the best offenses in Kentucky history during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
In 2008, Phillips was named Head-Coach-in Waiting, a spot designated for Rich Brooks successor when he chose to retire. Phillips maintained his responsibilities as Offensive Coordinator and Wide Receivers' Coach until 2009. In 2009, his title was changed to Head Coach of Offense, but his responsibilities remained similar.
When Rich Brooks retired Monday, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before Phillips would be officially named Head Coach at Kentucky. Yesterday January 6th, 2010, Phillips's position was made official.
Now as the University of Kentucky's Head Coach, Phillips is only the second African-American Head coach in Southeastern Conference history (Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State). Phillips is the first Kentucky native since Jerry Claiborne (1982-1989) to hold the position. Phillips is also the first head coach at Kentucky to be promoted from within the current program since Bernie Shively in 1945.
Base Salary - $400,000 for five years (Expires December 31, 2014)
Endorsements - $1.3 million per year
Incentives - Four SEC wins ($100,000), Five SEC wins ($125,000), Six SEC wins ($150,000), Seven SEC wins ($175,000), Eight SEC wins ($200,000).
Kentucky wins SEC East ($100,000)
Kentucky wins SEC and is in the BCS ($200,000)
Kentucky makes BCS ($100,000)
Kentucky receives bowl bid worth more than $2,000,000 ($75,000)
Kentucky receives bowl bid worth less than $2,000,000 ($50,000)
Team GPA 2.75 or better ($25,000)
Team APR .925 or better ($15,000)
Graduation rate of 67% or better ($15,000)
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